Well, hello there…

I have been in a funk for months now. Although life has been great and I have had some wonderful adventures and created many fabulous memories when it comes to my weight loss journey I have been in a rut.

And until a few days ago I didn’t know why.

Or maybe I did but just didn’t want to admit it.

But the cat is out of the bag now. I have realized where I went wrong and the changes I need to make to get back on track and I am more than ready to make them.

Here’s the short version of what I’m talking about; well maybe not short but it’s the shortest version I can give you.

I went into 2012 seeking balance in my life. I had spent the previous 10 months dedicating 100% of my time to my weight loss journey. I spent my evenings at fitness classes, weekend activities were planned around workouts, I was constantly tweaking my diet to find out what worked best for my body and I experienced great results because of it. By Christmas I had lost 100 pounds in just 10 months and I was beyond the moon excited.

Although I couldn’t have been happier about my weight loss I was definitely feeling the toll those months had put on me. I had no social life. I barely saw my husband. I was borderline obsessive with my weight. I needed a break. I needed balance.

And so, 2012 started with my search for balance. I decided to ease up a bit and focus more of my attention on the aspects of my life I had neglected, namely my husband, as well as set some different goals/aspirations for myself. I was ready to start running. Something Paul does and enjoys doing and something I had always hoped to do with him. My focus was now on the only goal I had set for myself – run an entire 5K. I steadily progressed through the 8 week Couch to 5K program and at the end was able to run my first 5K, which I did in 34 minutes and 4 seconds! Paul and I also bought road bikes and took up cycling. I was enjoying my new hobbies.

I was also enjoying all of the fun activities Paul and I were partaking in; hockey games, beer tastings, parties, and lots of relaxing at home watching TV.

I was definitely bringing my focus back towards the areas of my life I had been neglecting but somewhere along the way I went from one end of the spectrum to the other. I hadn’t found balance, I found social Dacia. And I welcomed her back with open arms.

My life had gone from a constant focus on my weight loss to a constant focus on fun. I found myself becoming less active, some days even skipping workouts, but I was completely oblivious to this change in mindset since I was pretty much maintaining my weight. I had some fun new hobbies that were keeping me (somewhat) active, I was still following a vegan diet, and I still felt I was putting my health first but was I really?

I think what had happened was this- I was doing was enough to get by and that kept me feeling like I was still committed to my journey. However, it kept me from really making much progress this year and that has really started to wear on me. Bouncing between the same few pounds week in and week out, who needs it? Definitely not me.

Then the other night I was talking with Paul and he made a comment in regards to my fitness. He said;

“You write in your blog and tell others about how they need to find what makes them happy and yet you stopped doing everything you love. You stopped boxing, you stopped Nia, and you took up running which you don’t even enjoy.”

Yep. His comment was spot on.

Yes, I had my reasons for stopping my group exercise classes and at the time I thought swapping them for running and other standard gym activities would be no big deal.

And maybe it would have been no big deal if I had the same passion for running, the stationary bike and swimming that I had for the group exercise classes. But I don’t.

To say I enjoy running would be a half truth. I enjoyed setting a goal and achieving it but the training, the boring days on the treadmill, the solitude- eh, blah. That’s kind of how I feel. I plan on continuing to run but for fun. For me. When I feel like it. Out on the trails. Not on a treadmill. Not following a set training schedule. I’m just not that person. No matter how hard I try to convince myself otherwise. Maybe one day. But not now.

So after a few conversations with Paul about what I want to start doing again (Nia, yoga, Journey Dance, spin class) and what new things I want to try (crossfit, body pump, boot camp, TRX) we have come up with a plan on how I will get back into my happy place in regards to my workouts and still continue to have a life as well. A plan to find balance.

This Sunday I will be returning to the Synergy Studio and I will start back with some Nia, yoga, and Journey Dance classes. I won’t be going every day because there are other things I want to do but going 1-2 times a week will help bring focus on the self-love/self-worth aspect of this journey. Those classes, in that studio, bring me calmness and inner peace and help me grow and heal both my physical and mental state.

Paul and I will also be taking advantage of a two week trial pass we have for the YMCA. The closest Y to where we live (which is literally down the street from Synergy) offers a crap ton of evening classes that would work into both of our schedules. They have multiple spin classes daily. They offer yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi as well as the more challenging classes I crave like boot camp, boxing and TRX. Plus they even have a rock climbing wall. How cool?
I think we are both optimistic that we will like the classes and trainers there and will be joining the YMCA after our trial period is up.

I am also excited because they offer early classes so I can hit up a class after work, shower, and still have time to hit up our favorite watering hole for a beer every now and again.

We can still enjoy our long bike rides together and then spend time with friends.

I can dance a Nia routine with some of the most amazing women I have ever met and then curl up with a book afterwards.

To me, that is balance.

And that’s what I need right now.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how the next few weeks play out. I am glad to be back. I’ve missed you guys. But I needed this break. I hope you understand. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better and I think the worst is over now. I’m ready to recommit myself to this journey, and to this blog, and start being accountable again. Are you with me?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

P.S. for those of you that have been reading this blog for awhile may remember that I had set a reward for myself that when I hit the halfway mark to my weight loss goal I would go ziplining. Well the timing didn’t really work out and that reward kept getting pushed to the backburner. Well, you’ll be happy to know that I finally bought a ziplining package (through Groupon, yay!) and I hope to use it in the next few weeks. Post and pics to come 🙂

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May 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Life, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

Monica’s Birthday Challenge: Week 7 Results and Week 8 Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. We now have just one week remaining in the challenge. Crazy!

Are you happy with your progress so far? If not, know that you have the power to make this week different. You can change your path starting now so do it. No excuses!

The results are in and our current leader is still Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 8.29% so far. I am not even kidding, that is really her number. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing! Would you care to share your secrets? 😉

I am so proud of Alexis and the progress she has made but if there is one thing I have learned by watching her weight drop every week is that this challenge, this competition, is personal and unique for each of us. I cannot compare myself to Alexis and wonder what I am doing wrong, why I am not getting the same results as her. All I can do is to be honest with myself, make the best choices I can and try my hardest and whatever the results are is how my body reacts to those choices. I cannot change that. We can only do our best and have to be satisfied with the outcome regardless of whether that number is 8%, 4% or .50%- if we gave it our best we have to be happy with the results. Each day we chose to put our health and wellness first is a victory. I am so proud of all of you for making the choice to do so!

Are you ready for week 8 and our last challenges?

Challenge 1: Minutes…Make them count!

Can you dedicate this week to exercise? I hope so. I hope each of you can carve out some time every day for yourself. It’s important. We need it.

This challenge has two levels; you pick which one you would like to attempt.

Level 1: 200 minutes of fitness. That is roughly 30 minutes a day. For those of us that are super busy, work, kids, travel, etc, 30 minutes a day is still doable. Take a walk on your lunch break. Pop in a DVD after the kids are asleep. Anybody can take 200 minutes out 10,080 minutes in a week for themself, right?

Level 2: 300 minutes of fitness. This is roughly 45 minutes a day. This is a little more intense of a challenge geared to those who have a more flexible schedule and like to spend a bit longer at the gym/working out. Still totally doable for a busy person. It’s only 300 minutes out of 10,080- that’s not even 3% of your week. Yeah, you can do this!

Challenge 2: H20 Baby!

It is only right that if I tell you to bust your butt this week on the fitness side that I also challenge you to make sure you are drinking enough water. This because even more important when you are working out because you need to replenish what you sweat out. Also, this is just something I do and I am not 100% sure if I am correct in doing so but I do not count the water I drink at the gym/immediately after as part of my intake since it is replenishing what was already in my body. For me I do a minimum of 2 liters a day in addition to what I drink working out.  A good rule of thumb for water intake is drinking half of your weight in ounces of water or 64 oz, whichever is higher. Can you drink that every day? I think we should try to reach our recommended water intake every day this week.

Challenge 3: No Crap!

There are certain things that I think are just crap for our body. Meaning they either do more harm than good or no good at all. The reality is, if we eat calorie dense food with no nutrients (think fast food) that our body won’t feel satisfied. It is why we can eat an insane amount of calories at a meal and still feel hungry a few hours later. It is why obesity is out of control in this country. We are over fed and nutrient deprived. It’s SAD- the Standard American Diet.

Choosing to eat foods that are full of nutrients satisfy our bodies, leave us feeling full and decrease our chances of overeating while also giving us the nutrients we NEED to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Foods with vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids in addition to fat, carbs, protein and fiber. All of these things are imperative for our health.

Without me going into foods I think are crap that may be more difficult for people to eliminate from their diet I will just pick some of the key players and let you decide which one you would like to eliminate this week.

Soda– I haven’t drank soda in I don’t know how long. Maybe 10 months. I used to be a junky (I only drank diet soda all day long, like easily a 2L a day) but now soda disgusts me. Filled with high fructose corn syrup (or other nasty chemicals if you drink diet) and caffeine and whole slew of bizarre shit we probably shouldn’t be putting in our body. It provides us with zero nutrients, it dehydrates us, and it adds in bad chemicals that we work so hard to flush from our system by drinking water. It does nothing good for our body at all.  And if you care to know, I feel the same way about pretty much any flavored beverages like Crystal Light or any artificial sweetened drinks. I drink herbal tea and water only but I wasn’t always that way. I am just saying it is possible to break the addiction, if you want to.

Chips/French Fries– the result of following the Standard American Diet shows that half of our fruit and vegetable intake (which is only 12% of what we are eating, very sad)comes from one vegetable in particular. POTATOES. My guess is that the 6% potato intake comes from crappy fries and chips not healthy baked potatoes. Potatoes are not the enemy. Well not until you strip away all the nutrients they provide (like fiber from the skin) and then deep fry them adding in fat, usually the bad kind. Or maybe just as bad, take a healthy baked potato and load it up with bacon, cheese, butter, sour cream. Yes you get some protein from bacon but really you just added in fat, fat, fat, and fat. Yes, we do need fat to survive. Fat intake is important but in the land of good fats and bad I lump butter, cheese and milk in the bad fat category but I understand if you don’t feel the same. Everything in moderation, right? I eat baked potatoes and sweet potatoes pretty regularly and when I add in my fat it comes from avocado or beans (both of which provide more than just fat) and am completely satisfied after I eat and never feel deprived. So, this week I challenge you to give up potato chips and french fries and try swapping them out for healthy baked potatoes with yummy and nutritious toppings.

Candy/Cake/Cookies-sugar, especially white seems to be the number one enemy of the Standard American Diet. There is sugar in everything. EVERYTHING. That’s how I felt when we did the sugar challenge a few weeks ago and realized it was added into almost every packaged food I bought. Crazy. Another junk food item I feel we could all do better without is sweets. Again, when you look at what it is you are eating and how much sugar is in it maybe a week without sweets is a good thing. Not all sweets are bad, I know dark chocolate has antioxidants which are important but it doesn’t mean to eat a whole cake just because it has dark chocolate frosting. I think a piece of dark chocolate now and again isn’t a bad thing. It’s the bags of candy, cookies and cakes that we eat too many of too frequently is a bad thing. Too much sugar is no bueno so take a week and try to live without it. If you want sweets eat a piece of fruit. I particularly like to keep frozen white grapes on hand in the summer for a cool, sweet treat.

So there are three food items I consider crap. Pick one and eliminate it from your diet this week. There are healthy swaps for all three so you don’t need to feel deprived. Deprivation is never a good thing but finding healthy items to replace the junk is.

Good luck and thanks for reading!

April 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

MB Challenge: Week Four Results and Week Five Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. We are now at the halfway point of the contest- are you where you hoped to be? If so, keep it up. If not, well I guess it’s time to step it up 🙂

Were you able to keep up with this week’s first food related challenge? Did you notice any changes in how you felt? Did it seem to help you? I hope so. For me, eliminating sugar was really helpful. I saw my weight dip into the 160’s for the first time. However, once I my TOM started I really struggled with the no sugar thing and succumbed to temptation a handful of times. Going forward I do think I will try to pay more attention and check for sugar on ingredient lists trying to limit it wherever I can.

Well, the results are in and our current leader is Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 5.62% so far. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing!

Another loss this week has helped to keep Alexis in the number one spot for the second week in a row. Are you ready to try to steal the lead from Alexis this week?

Congrats and good job to and to everyone who reported in this week. You may have done better, worse or as expected but by being accountable to yourself and the scale you acknowledge that this is a journey and that along it you will encounter all sorts of bumps in the road. Just keep at, be honest with yourself, and hold your head up high. You should be proud of where you are and how far you’ve come.

Are you ready for week 5 and the new challenge?

Or should I say challenges….

Yes, this week I am throwing down two challenges; one food related and one fitness related to help us all really push ourselves this week.

Food Challenge

Don’t eat when you are not hungry. Sounds easy enough, right?

This means no mindless snacking in front of the TV, no stress eating (turning to food for comfort), and it also means stop eating once you are full. These are all difficult habits to break. This week (it’s only seven days- I know we all can do this) only eat when we are truly hungry and stop eating once we are full.

Fitness Challenge

Do something that scares you. This could be a fitness class, DVD, using a new machine, trying out weights. It could even be putting on a bathing suit and swimming. Whatever. This is up to you. Only you know what you have let fear prevent you from doing. Right now I am at the place in my journey when I am starting to overcome the fears that have prevented me from trying new things and it has been so liberating. But I also don’t overlook the fact that when I was 266 pounds I started boxing (which was scary as hell) and at 260 pounds I started yoga, pilates, Nia and all other sorts of classes. So my point is you can try something new, step out of your comfort zone, at any weight and be successful.

So what scares you? What is something you have wanted to try but didn’t think you were strong enough/fit enough/ready to try? This week- just do it!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

March 25, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 3 comments.

MB Challenge: Week Three Results and Week Four Challenge

Another week has come to an end for Monica’s Birthday Challenge. I know this has been an interesting week for me, to say the least. It was filled with trials and triumphs and I feel like I am coming out of it ready for the next leg of my journey.

Were you able to keep up with the challenge of no excuses this week? I hope so. It helped me every time I wanted to go back to bed instead of hitting the gym in the AM.

Well, the results are in and our current leader is Alexis A. (@divaonadiet) with a total loss of 4.32% so far. Woo hoo! Congrats Alexis! That’s pretty amazing!

Are you ready to try to steal the lead from Alexis this week?

Congrats and good job to and to everyone who reported in this week. You may have done better, worse or as expected but by being accountable to yourself and the scale you acknowledge that this is a journey and that along it you will encounter all sorts of bumps in the road. Just keep at, be honest with yourself, and hold your head up high. You should be proud of where you are and how far you’ve come.

Are you ready for week 4 and the new challenge?

We’ve been focusing on fitness these past three weeks so this challenge is going to be all about the other half of the equation- food.

Through a Google search the other day I found this article on LIVESTRONG and it inspired me to turn it into a challenge. The article talks about problems associated with the typical American diet. Basically, in a very quick summary, we eat too much sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, processed/refined foods and not enough fiber. I thought about what this article said and whether or not these statements apply to my diet.

I eat A LOT of fiber. That kind of happens when your diet consists of grains, legumes and plants. So the fiber thing is not too big of a concern for me.

I don’t eat too many processed/refined foods. I try to stick to eating only whole grains and there are relatively few things I buy that are refined/processed I buy.

I don’t ingest much high-fructose corn syrup. I don’t drink soda. I really limit processed foods which helps keep the HFCS at bay.

I do, however, eat sugar. Yes, I do use organic, vegan sugar (trust me, you don’t want to know why regular sugar is not usually vegan approved) and limit the amount of white sugar I use but I still eat sugar nonetheless. Like how once a week I eat a half (or sometimes a whole) cupcake from Green or a chocolate chip cookie from Whole Foods.

Plus this week I baked up two batches of beer cookies which used both white and brown sugar.

Oh, and I use jam on my toast. The jam is made with sugar.

Oh, wait. There is also sugar in my salad dressing.

And added to spaghetti sauce.

Damn that sneaky sugar!

So this week, the challenge is to eliminate (or add, in the case of the fiber) one of these things from your diet. Or if there is something else you wanted to try, like maybe eliminating dairy, then you could do that instead. Don’t make it too easy though. Like eliminating something you seldom eat or something you dislike already. That’s kind of like cheating 😉

This week you can choose to eliminate:

Sugar or High-fructose Corn Syrup

Limit processed/refined Foods

Or increase your intake of fiber

Or add/eliminate something of your own choice

My challenge is going to be to eliminate sugar from my diet. And I am pretty sure it will be a lot harder than I think.

What will you choose for your challenge?

Good luck and thanks for reading!

March 18, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 5 comments.

Bad Habits Come Creeping Back In

It’s been about six weeks since I reached my lowest weight of 173 pounds. That was before I left for vacation. Since then I have bounced between 173.2 all the way up to 178 and it has been nothing short of frustrating.

Yes, I knew that vacation would bring forth a gain- which it did. And that it wouldn’t take long to lose the weight, which it didn’t. But then I got sick. I fell out of routine. And bad habits started creeping back in.

So, I bounced. That weight jumped back and forth and the more that 173 evaded me the harder I found it to make good choices.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. I was making good choices. They were just surrounded by bad choices.

Like I would kill it at the gym and then later go crazy with my eating and not track.

Or I would make good food choices but I wasn’t getting in any activity.

So I wasn’t shocked that my weight kept fluctuating.

I was, however, shocked by the habits that started to come back as the frustration increased.

My worst habit by far- eating when I am not hungry.

Perfect example was last Saturday. I woke up, got in a great workout. Had a healthy breakfast and lunch and made great decisions to set me up for a successful evening at a friend’s house where I would be drinking lots of home-brewed beer and eating foods not prepared by me.

To help survive the smorgasbord that would be there I prepared a healthy, nutrient dense wheat berry and chickpea salad. I knew if I could eat this and limit the portions on the other foods I would be ok.

But that’s not what happened. I ate and ate and ate. Even when I was no longer hungry. All because the foods were new and oh so yummy and because I easily revert back to bad habits when alcohol is involved and that is not a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s ok to have a night of fun like that (with slightly less indulgence) as long as the next day I go back to eating like a normal person.

But I don’t. That’s where my struggle lies. Saturday was fun. We had a fabulous time with friends. I didn’t make the best decisions but that’s life. It happens. I move on.

But Sunday found me making the same mistakes- having a big, hearty brunch and then eating samosas just an hour or so later (not even slightly hungry) because they looked yummy and were in front of my face. I regretted eating them not because of the points, which I tracked, but because I felt like I was losing control of my mindful eating practice. I was letting the food control me, not the other way around.

I told Paul about how pissed I was that after a year I am still making bad decisions and he said that I need to look at it differently. I’ve had that habit for a very long time, far longer than a year, so it should come as no surprise when that habit comes through and causes me to make bad decisions.

I guess that’s true.

Although I don’t want it to be. I like to think I’m different now. I like to think those habits are gone.

Maybe we are both right. Maybe that urge will always be there, that temptation from food which leads me to overindulge. But maybe it’s lessened.

Or maybe I just have the tools now to help me make better decisions that allow me to keep that temptation at bay.

Most of the time, at least 😉

Thanks for reading!

March 15, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Weight Loss, Weight Watchers. 8 comments.

MB Challenge: Week One Results and Week Two’s Challenge

How was the first week? Were you able to get in 30 minutes of activity a day?

Well, the results are in and our current leader is Amy W. (@yerttlesblog) with a loss this week of 2.90%. Woo hoo!

I know most of you are thinking WTF – 2.90% is crazy. Let me just tell you that Amy was very sick this week and I am sure she is not celebrating this loss. Right now she is trying to keep down solid food. Today she ate a banana. Yay! So, yeah, the number is kind of high this week due to her extenuating circumstances.

Just try to keep in mind that we are all different and lose differently. Don’t fall into that trap (I know I’ve been sucked in) where you compare your progress against that of others.

Just be proud of your week ; loss, gain or no change, because you spent it dedicating yourself to getting healthy and that makes you a winner. Hey, it may sound corny but it’s true. Just being here, determined and persevering, means you have already done the hardest part- taking that first step. I’m so proud of all of Monica’s Losers which maybe I should rename Monica’s Winners 🙂

Are you ready for week 2 and the new challenge?

Sticking with an activity related theme for week two I challenge you to create your own challenge and then complete it. Ok, I know that sounds lame but here is what I had in mind for this week.

Do you watch the Biggest Loser? The other week one of the contestants was challenged to climb 103 flights of stairs in an hour. Then the next day I decided I would climb 103 floors on the stair master in honor of that contestant.  Tuesday night on BL all the contestants were challenged to row 10,000 meters as fast as they could. The contestant who did it the fastest won $10,000.  I thought that would be a great challenge for this week (minus the $10K prize of course) until I realized not everyone has access to a rowing machine. So, I decided that we should each create our own challenge and then complete it this week.

I’m going to do the rower challenge but since I have rowed to 10,000m before I am going to challenge myself to row for 15,000m. What are you going to do? Is your challenge for endurance (like mine) or intensity?

I also think we should try to keep active this week so I am re-challenging you to getting in 30 minutes of activity a day too.

My friend says, “eating right helps you look good, exercise helps you look good naked.” So let’s get moving people! 🙂

Good luck and thanks for reading!

March 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 2 comments.

Monica’s Birthday Challenge

My very awesome friend Monica has a birthday coming up in April; on the 26th to be exact. A few months ago we decided to make a friendly bet- who can get closest to 150 pounds by her birthday. This was to help keep us motivated on our weight loss journeys. Monica also does Weight Watchers and although we no longer go to meetings together (since I do WW at work) we still try to encourage and help each other along the best we can. To be honest with you, I kind of forgot about this bet. We made it back in November, I think, and so much has been going on that it just slipped my mind.

That was until my friend Kelly mentioned to me the struggles she has been having with losing weight and I was feeling the exact same way. As I mentioned yesterday, two months into 2012 and I am at the same weight I was when I started the year. That’s definitely a hard pill to swallow. These struggles made me think about the bet I had made with Monica and I asked her if she would mind if I turned our bet into a weight loss challenge and she kindly agreed. This is how ‘Monica’s Birthday Challenge’ was created.

The Details

– The contest will run for eight weeks; February 25th through April 21st, 2012
– Your current weight must be emailed to me (thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com) or DM via Twitter (@dacialee33) every Saturday starting this Saturday, February 25th
– Photos of starting and ending weight (scale display or WW log would be great) must be submitted via email
– Weekly challenges will be posted. These are not mandatory but I strongly encourage full participation
– Winner will be determined by the largest percentage of weight loss over the 8 week period
– Weight information will be kept private, the only number I will post on this blog is the percentage lost NOT the starting, ending, or interim weights.
– Each week I will post who is in first place and their total percentage lost to help give us something to work towards 🙂

The Winner

– To be eligible to win you must have submitted photos of your starting/ending weight as well as submitted your weekly weight to me every week of the competition
– The person meeting the above eligibility requirements with the largest percentage of weight loss at the end of the eight week period will be crowned the winner

The Prize

*I like the idea of customizing the prize for the winner so I reserve the right to tweak/change the prize package at the end however, it will include the following items
– Amazon or iTunes gift card (winner’s choice)
– Whole Foods gift card or if you don’t have a WF near you I will pick out some fun non-perishable items to send to you 🙂
– Bath/beauty product from Lush
– Anything else cool I find over the next two months to add to the pot 🙂

More than anything this is about having fun, focusing on losing weight in a healthy manner, and being able to brag about winning 😉 Since I am not a sponsored blogger the prizes furnished will come directly from me. This means the winner will have to share with me his/her address in order for me to mail the prizes 🙂

I will be participating and of course posting my weight weekly (to help keep me accountable) and my feedback on the challenges and I hope you do too. If you are a blogger I would love if you could link up to the challenge and share your feedback as well.

This challenge is open to both men and women. I’ve already asked Paul to participate (although neither of us is eligible to win) because it’s always fun having a partner to help push me through the tough patches. Please feel free to ask your spouse, partner, friends, and family to participate in the challenge along with you. The more the merrier 🙂

Weekly Challenge

This week’s challenge is focused on movement. It’s important that we make time everyday to get our bodies up and moving; whether it is hitting the gym, taking the doggies out for a walk or playing with the kids. Movement plays a big role in weight loss and living a healthy life. This week let’s dedicate 30 minutes each day to being active in some form.

So, to recap week one: make sure you email me your starting weight including a picture of the scale (or WW log if that’s easier) this Saturday, February 25th. The list of participants, including Twitter handle if you don’t mind, will be compiled and posted on the blog when I wake up Sunday morning and will act as the official list of participants. I hope we all can support and encourage each other through this challenge. Any ideas for a hashtag would be greatly appreciated! The weekly challenge (which is not mandatory, just recommended) is being active for 30 minutes each day. Most importantly; have fun!

Email: thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

Good luck and thanks for reading!

February 23, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Monica's Birthday Challenge, Weight Loss. 9 comments.

Catching Up

Things have been rough since I came back from vacation. I have been battling something that is either vertigo, vitamin d deficiency, thyroid problem (possible diagnoses from my doctor) or my first outbreak of migraines (diagnosis from the ER) and it has been a really crappy week. I had issues with dizziness, headaches and fatigue and so I went to the doctor. She sent me for blood work and that was that. Three days later I was on the verge of a breakdown because the headaches were overwhelming and the dizziness hit me every time I moved. It was awful. So, I went to the ER. The docs there ran a whole slew of tests; CT scan, blood work, urinalysis, and a battery of test to check my gait, vision, reflexes. Not sure why my primary care doc didn’t do any of the walking or vision checks as her first guess was vertigo yet she didn’t even check me to see if I exhibited any signs of it. The ER doctors thought I was having my first encounter with migraines. They gave me a mix of IV and pill-form meds and were able to get rid of the headaches. Yay! Finally! It felt so good to finally not have that pain.

I’m almost back to normal. I haven’t felt strong enough to start back at the gym but hope to be back by the weekend. Right now my focus is on getting back into my normal routine, making sure I am getting enough sleep (which I didn’t last night), eating good foods, taking my vitamins and staying hydrated. Good habits foster good health and hopefully I will be back to my old self in no time.

With all that being said, I do realize that I never posted week eight’s info for the New You challenge. Week 8 is all about fine tuning. Finding healthy swaps, focus on eat less move more, make small changes to your plan to help keep you going in the right direction. I know for me this week is about starting over. Ok, maybe starting over isn’t the right way to say it. I guess I really mean this week is about getting back on track. Each day is a new chance to make better choices and so today I pledge to make the most of what opportunities to be healthier lie in front of me.

Later this week I will be posting details about a new challenge. This one is going to be very different from the last challenge. This is a competition (based off of pounds or inches if you would prefer to go that route) and after 8 weeks the winner gets a fabulous prize. There will be weekly report ins so I can track percentage to goal (you will be ranked by % to goal- no starting/ending weight will be seen by anyone but me) and there will be weekly mini-challenges as well. I am going to participate along with you just for fun. Well, maybe not for fun. More like I am doing this because I need this to help get my butt back into gear. Almost two months into 2012 and I am in the same place I was on January first. Not really what I expected from myself. It’s time to get moving and loosing again.

The challenge, which I am calling Monica’s Birthday Challenge (I will explain the name later), will begin on Saturday. You will need to weigh-in or measure yourself and send me your starting info by Sunday. I will create a post that goes into all the details and put that up tomorrow so you know more about how this will work. Saturdays will be our official report in day so I hope that works for you. Once I have a list of all the participants I will be sure to email you a reminder every Friday and Saturday so you know to report in. I even created a new email address just for this challenge. You can contact me directly at thirtythreeandcounting@gmail.com or you can tweet at me @dacialee33. Either will work.

Well, that’s about it for now. I just wanted to catch you up on everything that’s been going on. I’m excited for this new challenge. Are you?

Thanks for reading!

February 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health, Weight Loss. 6 comments.

New You Challenge: Week 7

It’s week 7….let’s kick it up a notch!

It’s time to bump up the intensity level. It’s time to push ourselves a little more.

I don’t mean go crazy. Going from walking a mile to running a marathon is not what I mean by increasing the intensity. That’s too much. That’s like jumping from level 3 to level 400. What I mean is if you are currently walking a mile in 18 minutes, this week let’s work towards doing it in 17 minutes.

Or maybe you are looking to increase stamina. Maybe this week bump up your workout lengths by 25-50%. If you are putting in 30 minutes a session now aim for 40-45 minutes this week.

Maybe you are looking to increase both stamina and endurance. If so, then alternate. One day go for the longer sustainable workout and the next time go for a shorter time at a faster pace. This is where I am at right now in my journey; trying to increase both strength and stamina.

Don’t forget to keep switching it up. Try new things. Have fun with it. Seriously! HAVE FUN! That is key to making these changes stick. This is a lifestyle change people, make changes you want to keep forever. This is permanent. This is your health. Make the most of it!

Ok, so to recap the challenge for this week is to push ourselves a little bit harder on the fitness front. Personalize this challenge to make it fit your existing routine and decide how you want to change it up. The only focus questions for this week are; did it feel good (don’t push to the point of pain- no injuries please) and was it fun?

Don’t forget to keep drinking that agua, keep practicing mindful eating, get your butt moving and have some fun!

I hope you are enjoying this challenge. Week 8, next week, is the last week and hopefully you have found some new habits or ideas that work for you. Once the New You challenge is over I am going to start up another challenge but this one is a competition. I haven’t decided on all the details yet but the premise is to help reinforce the healthy habits we created over the past two months and keep us focused and motivated on our path to a healthy lifestyle. I’m pretty excited for this one and I hope you are too!

Thanks for reading!

February 11, 2012. Tags: , , , , , . New You Challenge. Leave a comment.

New You Challenge: Week Six

Welcome back New You challengers! I hope you are still here, practicing some of the ideas laid out over the past few weeks. This week’s challenge seems easy at first glance but may be the most challenging to date. For me, this is currently what I am struggling with and have discussed it on this blog before- finding balance. This week is all about focusing on the other aspects of our life not just our diet and exercise. I know this is where I am challenged. I know what I need to eat and how I should be working out but I am just now learning how to find the balance in my life between being a machine who’s only focus is getting healthy and a mindlessly eating couch potato. Trying to find that happy medium between the old Dacia and the new Dacia. This is a lifestyle change, right? So it is just as important that we still make time for hobbies, friends, relaxing, goofing off, as it is eating good foods and incorporating fitness into our routine.

Another key to finding our balance is making sure we are getting enough sleep. For me, that means 8 hours. To others maybe a little more or a little less. It’s whatever your body dictates. I know there are a few of you reading this right now thinking I am crazy to think anyone can get 8 hours of sleep regularly. We just don’t have the time, do we? I know, I know. I have it easy. I don’t have kids. I know that for my moms reading now you are thinking this will never happen and yes, it might be awhile before you can get a solid 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep so for you I can only say do your best. Set yourself up to be successful (i.e. go to bed at a time where you could get a good night’s sleep) and if the kiddo does happen to sleep through the night then you can too.

I do realize that this may seem I am asking too much of you. That you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do it all. That’s why it’s important to journal. Write down what you do every day so you can find wasted hours. For me there are things on my schedule that I need to spend time doing; work, exercise, showering, etc. but there are also things I do that are not necessities; watching TV and  Twitter (sorry, it’s not) are two that come to mind. If I want 8 hours of sleep then I need to turn off the TV, put the phone away, and go to bed. If I want to read a book then I should do the same. But if I want to relax and watch the Biggest Loser (even though that show is annoying me to no end and is totally not relaxing to watch anymore) then that’s what I should plan to do.

The key here is to plan for it. Don’t come home from work and waste those precious hours doing anything mindlessly; make a conscious decision to spend those hours doing activities you want to do. Dinner with a loved one filled with laughter and conversation, having family night with your kids, take your dogs out for a nice long walk, and if you are in a relationship make sure you schedule some bedroom time. I know for me that was probably the most neglected hobby of mine (yes, I just called sex a hobby) and that’s not a good thing to neglect. Yes, you need to put yourself first but not at the expense of your other relationships. Make sure you find that balance so that all of your loved ones don’t ever feel neglected.

To recap, this week’s challenge is about finding balance. Focus on adding hobbies and other activities you enjoy, but may have been neglecting, back into your routine and make sure to get a good night’s sleep daily.

Questions for journaling

How did I spend my time?

What unnecessary activities did I participate in that kept me from doing something different?

Did I get enough sleep? Why or why not? (note the why’s because it is important to develop a repeatable routine)

What am I missing out on/what else do I want to be doing?

Think about these questions, reflect on your answers and try to make some changes in your life that allow you to find balance. No, you will not be able to do everything you want every day of the week but if you prioritize, eliminate/reduce time-wasting activities, and focus on what matters to you most you will be able to find balance. You will end up with the life that you want 🙂

Don’t forget though that while you are focusing on finding balance don’t neglect the other parts of this challenge; staying hydrated (week one), mindful eating (week two and week three)and fitness (week four and week five) as these are key players in the lifestyle you are balancing.

Do you struggle with balance? What do you think will be the hardest part of this week’s challenge? Are there any activities you have been neglected you are excited to start incorporating back into your life?

Good luck this week! Thanks for reading!

 

February 5, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Fitness, Life, New You Challenge. 1 comment.

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